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Chaz Davies has held off Jonathan Rea in the opening free practice session at Magny-Cours in a tight FP1 which saw the top five covered by just over half a second.
The Aruba.it Racing Ducati rider reproduced his pace in the dry from the Lausitzring to go top four-hundredths of a second ahead of the World Superbike championship Rea at the French circuit.
Xavi Fores on the Barni Ducati impressed with a strong session in third place ahead of Tom Sykes as the recovering Alex Lowes placed his Pata Yamaha fifth overall – only 0.520s off pace-setter Davies.
Leon Camier once again produced front-running pace on the MV Agusta taking sixth by one-thousandth of a second in front of Althea BMW's Markus Reiterberger.
French rider Sylvain Guintoli enjoyed a solid start to his home round in eighth as Jordi Torres and Nicky Hayden – fresh from MotoGP action at Aragon – completed the top ten.
Hayden's Ten Kate Honda squad team-mate Michael van der Mark endured a frustrating FP1 without completing a single timed lap on his Fireblade, effectively losing half of his free practice time at Magny-Cours.